I love blogging. If I didn’t, it’d be a problem really.
I have to admit though, that it’s probably not the best hobby for someone with an addictive personality and a love of numbers. It means I get a bit obsessive and get drawn into my love for stats. And I stay up way too late which means I’m too tired to get up and exercise in the mornings like I used to…fat bottom alert, hence the serious diet now.
But ultimately I do it for myself and N to remember everything by, as that’s why I set it up in the first place, before I knew parenting blogs, stats and networks existed. I have no idea how I missed them, but I did until about 6 months in when I went self hosted.
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I started blogging after I went back to work following my maternity leave. Initially I went back working slightly shorter hours to allow for the commute and nursery hours, but now I’m back working full time (with a wonderful 15 minute maximum commute). It does mean that I have to blog at any moment I can if I want to keep up to speed. I did make the mistake of starting to blog daily about a year ago, so that keeps the pressure on. I miss the occasional day, but mostly I still blog daily. My aim for next year is to cut that down a bit. Maybe by the end of next year I’ll be down to 5 days a week.
Because I work and then have N to look after and spend time with (I’m ignoring the OH in that because he’s always working during the day time, and in the evenings he falls asleep in front of the television), I have to be smart about getting my blogging done.
I blog in the evenings mostly. At the moment I have a big stack of draft posts built up (it helped having no internet at home for 3 weeks over the summer which gave my drafts a boost, and I’ve been adding new ones as I’ve been publishing others. It helps free up my time for the actual publishing stage.
My blog writing process
1, Copy and paste in the relevant post from OneNote into my blog.
I love OneNote, I can use it on any of my devices, although I don’t at the moment. Otherwise I have a file of blog ideas/drafts, and carry it around with me on a memory stick which means I can easily write up drafts without online distractions wherever I am.
2, Try and avoid having social media or email windows open at the same time so I can concentrate on the post
3, Edit my photos.
At the moment I use Picmonkey. It’s easy and free, although I do pay the small cost for the Royale version. I’ve just done a Lightroom course with Shaw Academy, so I need to get up to speed on the webinars I missed and sign up to Lightroom.
4, Publish the post and share.
At the moment my blog doesn’t always fully publish and auto share, so I’m manually sharing posts when it doesn’t play ball.
5, Set up various tweets to schedule in my spreadsheet of posts.
I use Hootsuite, and schedule 2-3 times the next day, once on each of the next 2 days, and then a week and 2 weeks later where it’s not a seasonal post. I’ll usually manually tweet the morning after as well while I’m checking in on twitter.
Then the evening is usually mine to check in to the facebook blogging groups I’m in, catch up on linky commenting, and general social media chat. In between I check my personal email and my blog/other email.
If it’s a recent event I’m writing a post on, or a weekly linky like Living Arrows or Project 365, then I’ll write that evening if I’ve not already done it beforehand in some grabbed spare time. Those days I do tend to be later publishing because I usually get more distracted.
If I’ve nothing on at a lunchtime, I’ll sometimes write post drafts as well. Along with 3 weeks of no internet, I rely on that time, and the odd time at weekends when N is out on the farm and I’ve nothing else on. Even an hour, if I’ve already jotted down a list of posts can help get me another post (sometimes 2) written.
I note down posts on my phone (or blog draft file) as and when I think of them, or I’ll never remember them. Most of my blog post ideas come from when I’m out and about, or talking to N, so I don’t want to miss that moment and idea.
I mostly edit my photos as and when I need them. When I’ve been out taking photos I’ll generally upload them to the laptop straight away. I’ll usually do minor edits then – rotating, maybe some auto exposure, deleting bad photos – just in microsoft windows photo gallery. Then proper edits I do later when I’ve got the post in mind.
I don’t do much editing to my photos. I want to reflect what I see in real life in my photos, so I usually only change the brightness, check the colour, improve the sharpness and resize. I always aim for one photo in a post, but other times I have a veritable feast of images.
You have to be a really strong person not to check your stats when you blog. I think it’s in the human nature to want to compare to others, and I do that. I’m pretty competitive and love numbers, and am a bit of a perfectionist so I can’t help it.
But while I do look at a few other bloggers who were similarly ranked when I started knowing about such things, ultimately I’m trying to improve for myself each time.
However, if you’re worried about how much time you spend on your computer and blogging, it’s worth checking out Rescue Time. It’s a free app, and it logs everything you do on your computer while it’s running. It then categorises them, so as well as showing you the overall time spent, it breaks down to the top websites/apps you’re using, and then by type of activity. So for example, social media, editing, browsing, shopping, communication etc. It groups those into productive and non productive so it tells you how productive your time has been.
If you’re blogging and on social media you’ll always have high unproductive because anything social media is classed as that, but anything like editing and comms is more productive. I find it really interesting and does make you think about how you can bring the time down.
Of course, if you want the true picture you need to have Rescue Time on all your device s – mine’s only on my home laptop, so doesn’t get anything done on the work one, or my phone (which is limited). Horrifically, I spend around 35 hours a week on my laptop, that’s the equivalent of my full time job. Thankfully it’s now down to around 30 hours – mostly helped by me going back to dancing once a week.
So blogging while working full time does work, it just needs set times to blog and making use of any spare time…oh and probably either not cleaning more than once a week or having a cleaner! The downside is of course, that going to events just doesn’t work. Most are during the working week, or too short notice, or at weekends when sods law we’ve got something else on.
While I love blogging, I don’t think I’d ever give up working. I don’t think I’d enjoy blogging as much, I’d probably have to change the way I blog or what I blog about, and then feel pressure about my blog. I love my blog the way it is and for me that’s the most important thing.
Do you work and blog? How do you cope with doing both? Or how do you manage when you’ve kids at home?